A look at the best steel tip darts for beginners, intermediate and expert players.
The steel dart industry has come a long way from the original whittled down crossbow bolts of the medieval era.
Today you have a huge selection of precisely crafted and finely made darts to choose from.
With this large selection, and the variety of shapes, sizes, weights, materials and brands on the market, we often get asked by people which steel darts we recommend.
To help narrow down the choices, a proper guide is in order.
After a brief intro about why we prefer playing with steel tip darts, we’ll review some of the best steel tip darts for beginners, intermediate and advanced players.
Then we’ll review how to select the best steel tip darts for your playing style, including dart weight, barrel materials, shape and grip, and shafts and flights.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Why Play With Steel Tip Darts?
Choosing between steel tip and soft tip darts.
In recent years, soft tip darts have gained popularity for both bar dartboards and home set ups.
This trend can be explained by a few factors.
First, soft tip darts are safer.
And bar managers, homeowners and parents appreciate that there is significantly less safety risk and liability with a soft tip set.
Additionally, there are many new and exciting soft tip electronic dartboard options available today that add new game options and multiplayer features to traditional darts.
Yet there’s just something more satisfying about throwing a steel tip dart.
First, there’s the familiar thud of landing a dart on a traditional bristle dartboard.
Also, there are less bounce outs.
And it’s easy to appreciate the craftsmanship of a precision engineered dart.
We even take pride in using our stone sharpener to refine the steel tips and remove burrs, and even polish them on occasion.
These are just some of the reasons many players still prefer playing with steel tip darts.
Of course, you can play with both types of darts. And many of the best competitive players dominate popular dart games in both steel and soft tip circuits.
But let’s be honest: steel tip is the way to go.
So, which dart set is the best for you?
Our Picks for the Best Steel Tip Darts
There are hundreds of options out there, and we have played with quite a few of them.
From budget-friendly dart sets for beginners and intermediate players to high-quality sets for expert players, these are some of our favorites available right now:
Best Steel Tip Dart Sets for Beginners
This is perhaps the most popular steel tip home starter set. And it’s easy to see why.
The Sametop 12 packs offer excellent quality and durable darts that are perfect for some recreational fun or as general practice darts.
- 18 Grams with Flights
- Aluminum Shafts
- Brass Barrels
- Added Dart Sharpener
Who are these for:
These darts are best suited for those just looking to get into steel darts, or want some high quality neutral weighted backups to fill out their dart roster.
Looking for your first set of darts?
We also recommend:
This is a great option for new dart players. The 6-dart set includes three 18 gram and three 22 gram darts. The set also comes with 6 standard flights, 6 slim flights, and shaft lengths from 33 to 48 mm.
As you can see, the benefit of starting with a set like this is that you can mix and match the interchangeable dart components to find your preferred combination of weights and lengths.
Also, each dart features a straight barrel with full grip texture. Using a barrel like this will allow you to find where you like to hold the dart rather than forcing a front or rear loaded grip.
The downside is that the barrels are made from brass.
While not as dense or high performance as tungsten barrels, these will be more than adequate for most entry-level to intermediate dart players. The set also includes a dart sharpener, locking shafts, dart tool, and case.
Great for back up darts or new players looking to find their preferred dart weight, shaft length, hand placement, and flight size.
Best Steel Tip Dart Sets for Intermediate Players
A great set of high-end darts, the Bottelsen 80 Series was chosen since they are the personal preference of a few close friends who are competitive players. And the Bottelsen 80 are currently gaining popularity among recreational darts players.
Many enjoy the fact that Bottelsen darts don’t feel as loose as other brands and tend to last a considerable amount of time.
- Features 80% Tungsten Barrel
- Aluminum Shafts
- Black Steel
- 1/4-Inch Diameter Dart
- Available in 24 and 26 grams
Who are these for:
These are high end darts perfect for those looking for a mix-grip tungsten option.
Looking for a wood barrel dart?
Check out the Widdy Classic American Style Steel Tip Darts.
These classic style darts bring both a feel of Americana and class to a game. Durable, and with a barrel made from a single piece of wood, these are some of the best general and recreational use darts you can find at their price point.
12 x darts weighing in at 14-grams.
- Barrel made from a single piece of wood.
- Front weighted.
- 5-3/4″ in length
- 3 Turkey feather flights.
Who are these for:
The Widdy Classics are great for those who want a set that can be both beautiful and functional. These darts pair well with a number of dartboard motifs.
Best Dart Sets for Experienced Players
Made from 95% tungsten (5% nickel), the Sinisters offer a well-balanced dart with a very slim profile and smooth barrel design. This dart set comes with shorter shafts and high-speed flights.
Keep in mind that the barrel is completely smooth.
So, there is usually a learning curve when switching to these darts to get used to the slickness of the barrel.
If you’re comfortable with this type of barrel design, you will find that the Viper Sinisters are ideal for tight groupings and precision darting.
- 95% Tungsten content (5% Nickel)
- High density, smooth barrels with slim profile
- Comes in 2 barrel styles for different grip preferences: Contoured and Teardrop
- Aluminum shafts
- Locking shafts that secure to barrel tightly
- High speed slim flight design
- Weight Options include 24 and 25 grams
Who are these for:
For expert players who like a smooth barrel and slim design.
The Blitz is available in four different grip styles, including finely ringed, large knurl, shark-finned, and 5 banded knurled.
These darts feature a spinning shaft that rotates the flight after hitting the board.
The spinning action is designed to reduce bounce outs and provide a stable and consistent throw.
The Blitz set comes with larger flights compared to the Sinister.
Although it is still a slim and fast design, because of the grip options and larger flights, this dart provides enough balance and grip for both beginners and expert players.
- 95% Tungsten content (5% Nickel)
- Barrels have strategically placed knurl bands, grooves and ring for consistent hand placement
- Includes premium aluminum travel case
- Aluminum spinster shafts
- Locking shafts that secure to barrel tightly
- Standard flight design
- Available weights: 22 – 28 grams
Beginner to advanced players looking for fast, high quality tungsten darts with grip options.
Check out the Winmau Assault 90% Tungsten
The Winmau Assaults are a high-quality, mid-priced option for serious players.
These darts are available in 22, 24 and 26 gram weights. They include thick rhino flights for stable and consistent throws, and medium length aluminum shafts that can be replaced to suit your throwing style if necessary.
With 90% tungsten barrels, the Assaults are designed to be balanced and precise.
How to Select the Best Steel Tip Darts for You
The relative age of the sport, the overall increase in private based demand, and the recent boost in technological advancements have all resulted in a broad and diverse range of products to choose from when it comes to steel tip darts.
There are multiple shapes, designs and materials used to create modern steel tip darts.
Below are a few of the most important factors to consider when choosing the right dart for your game.
Dart weight refers to the total weight of a darts barrel and point (excluding the shaft and flight).
Darts can be found at weights ranging from 18 – 40 grams.
Your preferred dart weight is something you need to test and feel out for yourself. Most Players will use something around 20 – 26 grams, but some will find a lot of success with an outlier weight.
If you’re buying your first set of steel tip darts, we recommend 24 – 26 grams as a good starting point.
Dart Barrel Shapes
The most critical factor in finding the best steel tip dart may be the shape of the barrel.
Rather than elongating the length of the dart, which would cause wobble in flight, dart creators have developed a number of shapes and styles (perhaps thousands) with which to increase or decrease the barrel circumference.
Each shape will present its own unique benefits and drawbacks.
For example, some players like the pencil shape dart, where the weight is even through the barrel. This may feel natural and comfortable for new players. And, theoretically, a thinner and more regularly cylindrical barrel could give you tighter groupings.
Yet many of the top players prefer center loaded bomb or torpedo shaped darts. These barrels have a thicker middle that is weighted and tapered ends.
Other players find more accuracy using a tear drop style with a front-loaded barrel. Here, the front of the dart barrel will be weighted, usually with a notched or knurled grip, and the rear of the barrel is tapered.
There are an endless number of variations on these basic barrel shape designs.
But, in the end, it really depends on your throwing style and preference. You may need to try out several different barrel designs to find the one that is comfortable while complimenting your dart throwing style and ability.
For a basic rule of thumb, if you naturally hold the dart towards the front, look for a front-loaded barrel shape.
If you like to hold the dart towards the back, try to find a shape with a rear weighted designed.
And if you like to hold it in the middle, look for an evenly weighted dart (i.e. pencil design) or torpedo shape where the grip is focused on the middle of the barrel.
Grips are another crucial part of the dart that can be customized in a myriad of ways.
Basically, depending on how you personally grip the dart, you will want a dart grip that comfortably conforms to your hand.
Some players like a smooth grip, others use elaborate knurling, grooves and notches to create the perfect hand fit. Also, notches and rings make it easier to have consistent hand placement.
Other players opt for elaborate shark fin style grips for one reason or another.
So, just as with shape, there are a considerable variety of grips that will require you to feel out and test before you can safely say which is best for you.
Many dart sets are available in, or come with, different grip textures and styles.
If a knurled grip with notches helps with hand placement but is uncomfortable, try a smoother barrel with rings. If the barrel is too smooth or slippery, try a grip with more texture.
Dart Barrel Materials
Barrels can be made from several types of alloys. By far the most popular are brass, silver, tungsten-alloy, and nickel.
Wood darts are also a rare treat from time to time.
The material the dart is made out of is important, as it will ultimately affect its overall weight to size ratio.
Tungsten darts, for example, are very dense and thus will require a smaller circumference barrel to hit your preferred weight. That’s why most high-quality steel tip darts are made from tungsten or a combination of tungsten and another alloy, such as nickel.
You will find that certain materials are more common in different settings. For example, materials like brass or nickel are less expensive and are found more commonly in home recreational sets and pub games.
Tungsten, on the other hand, is more expensive, but its density and strength makes it the preferred material for serious recreational players and professionals.
When choosing the best steel dart set, we usually steer people towards darts with a high percentage of tungsten.
Like dart barrels, the shaft of a steel tip dart can also be made from several different materials.
The most common materials for dart shafts are aluminum, plastic or nylon.
Aluminum shafts are often used with high quality tungsten barrel dart sets.
Shafts also come in several different lengths.
Shorter dart shafts move the center of gravity towards the front end of the dart barrel. For this reason, a shorter shaft usually works better with a front-loaded barrel design.
Longer shafts move the center of gravity towards the back of the dart barrel.
So, in this case look for center or rear loaded barrel shapes as a good combination with longer dart shafts.
The dart flights at the end of your steel tip darts come in a wide variety colors, designs, thicknesses, shapes and sizes.
Common shapes include: the standard dart flight shape, kite shapes, pear shapes, tear drop flights, slim flights, and arrow head shapes.
Standard shape flights have more surface area. This helps the dart fly stable and steady. For most of us, a standard shape is the preferred type of flight because it guides the dart in a natural arc, rather than cutting through the air. It reduces wobbling and makes it easier to throw straight.
Standard flights, or other shapes with larger surface areas, also pair well with longer shafts and either rear or center loaded barrel shapes.
A smaller flight may work well for an advanced player with a flat and even throw. Smaller flights also take up less room on the board, allowing for tighter grouping of high scoring darts. And, these flights pair well with a shorter dart shaft and front-loaded barrel design.
Yet, for most players, a smaller flight will result in wobbly or unsteady throws.
We recommend sticking with a standard flight shape when your picking your first set of quality steel tip darts.
Dart flights also differ in thickness and weight. However, the differences usually come down to a matter of microns.
So, unless you play a lot and are very particular about the speed of your flights, don’t spend too much time worrying about the thickness or weight of your flights.
Ultimately your perfect dart will be a combination of your preferred grip coupled with a balance between the chosen material, dart shape, shaft length and overall weight.
Like many other bar games, darts is all about consistency.
Once you find the best combination of grip, shape and weight in a particular dart, stick with it.
A Note About Sharpening Your Steel Tip Darts
If you own a good set of steel tip darts, you should also have a sharpening stone. Yet most players assume this means the steel tip point needs to stay needle sharp.
But having a sharp point is not the goal. If the tip of your dart is too sharp and “pointed”, it will bounce out more often and potentially damage the wires on your board.
A sharper point will also burr more easily and get caught on the fibers of the board when removing the dart.
Instead, use the sharpening stone to round off the point so it sets firmly in the bristle fibers on the board and does less damage to the wires.
Check out this video for more information about how and why to sharpen your darts:
Traditional Tip: Coat Your Steel Tip Darts with a Potato
A handy tip from the folks over at American Style Darts: Keep a potato handy when playing darts. Before shooting, lightly dip the point of your steel tip dart into the potato.
This will coat the dart and make it stick into the board easier. No, you shouldn’t eat the potato after a few rounds.
Well, that wraps up our guide to the best steel tip darts.
If you have any questions or suggestions based on your experience, please let us know in the comments!